Indie games are known for stretching a low budget into a heartfelt work of interactive art, but Cibele takes this standard to new heights. Designed by a five man team including indie developer Nina Freeman, known for her work with Fullbright studios on games like Gone Home, Cibele is a narrative-focused game that utilizes FMV clips recorded by Freeman herself.
Cibele tells a brutally honest story of a teenage girl discovering her sexuality on the internet. After meeting a guy on an MMORPG she plays online, their relationship extends into instant messaging and phone conversations until they decide to meet up to have sex. It’s clear with this description laid out that this sort of concept would never be produced by a AAA studio. As stated, Freeman recorded all the FMV on her own in an orchestrated setting, and all of it is sincere in a unique way.
Without spoiling more than has already been spoiled, Freeman revealed that the story told in Cibele is one she really lived and was hurt by. The sincerity with which every creative decision was made and then acted out in full motion video adds impact to an already real story. Developing feelings for strangers with whom you’ve only interacted digitally is a very common, very relevant, and very real experience with the universality of the internet. On top of all that, it’s uncomfortable. You rarely have digital relationships come up in conversation because people often struggle to justify it to even themselves, let alone others, but the feelings are real. If they weren’t, there’d be no relationships to feel uncomfortable bringing up. Cibele treats this very real and very uncomfortable topic with humanity and respect, and the very fact that game developers decided this was an issue that a game could handle in a mature way is invaluable.
As stated, this is a topic that most publishers would shy away from, but it’s the sort of topic that births classics in other mediums. If Cibele can prove that games can handle this sort of topic, that games can allow people to share and even learn about a facet of the human experience, just imagine the sorts of doors that would open for other tough subjects. Handling these subjects is how a medium grows, and one of the ways games can ascend from the level of a mere children’s toy. Only time will tell.
As far as release dates are concerned, there isn’t one. Yet. A recent tweet from Ms. Freeman announces that one will be arriving shortly.
We will be announcing a release date for Cibele in the near future, so I hope the trailer gets you hyped up in the meantime!
— ✿ nina freeman ✿ (@hentaiphd) August 10, 2015
So, if you’re dying to know that release date, follow Nina on twitter!